Philodendron xanadu


This week the featured plant is Philodendron xanadu; Xanadu is a great tropical foliage plant with lush tough green foliage and is arguably one of the best ‘tropical style’ plants introduced to cultivation in the last 25 years. Xanadu grows steadily and develops into a clump of plants approximately 1 metre tall. In Sydney and on the Central Coast it is a fabulous plant for under planting larger trees and palms.

Whilst giving your landscape a lush tropical look Philodendron xanadu will also provide a dense ground cover keeping weed growth to a minimum. If used under existing trees and palms Xanadu is big enough to not get buried under debris dropped from overhead trees, and is tough enough to compete with existing tree roots.


If used as a pot plant indoors Xanadu requires very bright natural light with weekly watering. In the landscape any frost free position in full sun to bright indirect light is suitable. Though it is a very tough and adaptable plant, for best results plant in well drained moist soil with plenty of added compost. It is relatively free of most common pests and diseases. Occasionally there are problems with its stability in propagation and dwarf forms are produced, whilst these are ok they do not perform as well and do not reach the size of the usual form.

Philodendron xanadu’s origin

Its origin has been a mystery to a lot of people and some in the USA originally believed it to be an Australian native. Philodendron xanadu was discovered in a West Australian nursery in 1983 as a chance seedling from a batch of imported seed, it was subsequently patented as Philodendron ‘Winterbourn’, then renamed ‘Xanadu’ by House Plants of Australia and released as their plant of the year in 1988. Xanadu was always regarded as being probably of hybrid origin. Now more than two million plants are sold worldwide every year. After decades of confusion it has only very recently been identified as a previously undescribed species from Brazil and has been officially described and named as Philodendron xanadu. Over the years a number of synonymous marketing names have appeared including Xanadu, Winterbourn, Excalibur, Showboat, and Millenium.

If you are keen on tropical gardening why not consider joining the The Tropical Garden Society of Sydney. They meet every second month at Drummoyne, click on the link to find out more information.